Luiz Razia dominates opening race in Malaysia

Valsecchi suffers a bad start as Razia capitalizes!



24 March 2012 - 05:50
Luiz Razia dominates opening race (...)

Brazilian driver Luiz Razia has won the opening round of the 2012 GP2 Series after a dominant display as Davide Valsecchi came home 2nd after a disastrous start. British driver Max Chilton finished 3rd after holding off Fabio Leimer throughout the race.

It was a slow start to the race as the cars lined up ready for the start, only for it to be aborted as the iSport International of Jolyon Palmer and the Rapax of Tom Dillmann both stalled on the grid. This required an extra formation lap as the marshals moved Palmer and Dillmann to the pits, where they were to unfortunately start the race. GP3 graduate Nigel Melker also had a disastrous start to the race, as the Dutchman was handed a drive-thru penalty after a member of the team was still on the grid as the 30-second board was shown.

As the lights went out, Davide Valsecchi had an extremely slow getaway as he dropped down to 4th through the first two corners. The Arden International of Luiz Razia stormed into the lead, and never looked back. Ocean Racing Technology suffered a torrid opening few laps, as not only was Melker forced to complete a drive-thru penalty, Jon Lancaster also had to pit for a new front wing. The British rookie subsequently retired.

Davide Valsecchi was not content stuck in 4th, and immediately began ploughing his way through the pack as he climbed up from 4th to 3rd and eventually to 2nd as the Italian driver set on hunting down Razia. Behind Fabio Leimer, a huge queue of drivers’ began to form, all battling for 3rd place.

After suffering a difficult weekend, Johnny Cecotto jr. began to loose many places as the Venezuelan driver was visibly suffering out on track. He subsequently pitted, and left the pits with the right-rear not connected properly, resulting in a three-wheeled Barwa Addax exiting the pit-lane, with Cecotto retiring at turn 1.

For the first time in the history of the GP2 Series, the drivers’ had the choice of the hard or soft Pirelli compounds. As the field began to pit, many various tyre strategies were played out. Whilst the likes of Coletti, Nasr and Leimer all pitted, Simon Trummer and Giancarlo Serenelli made contact at turn 9, with Serenelli not making too many friends out on track.

Rodolfo Gonzalez retired after an uncompetitive race for Caterham Racing, with the Venezuelan driver running straight on at turn 1 and trying his best to power himself out of the gravel, but instead he buried the car in the barriers. Esteban Gutierrez had scary moment as he entered the pits, running wide on the grass and was lucky not to hit the wall.

Giancarlo Serenelli caused all kinds of mayhem as the field tried to lap to faltering Venezuelan driver. The 30-year-old was not being shown blue flags, and subsequently held up drivers’ as they tried to lap him. The marshals finally realized their mistake and began waving blue flags shortly afterwards, with Serenelli still trying to un-lap himself in places.

As the race entered its final stages, and battle for 7th, 8th and 9th began hotting up between the two Lotus’s of James Calado and Esteban Gutierrez with the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde waiting in the wings. Eventually, Gutierrez passed Calado, as the British driver came under immense pressure from van der Garde.

If the closing stages of the race couldn’t have been more exciting, race control confirmed it had begun to rain at turn 6. However, the rain failed to fully materialize even though many teams prepared themselves in the pits for a possible mad dash stop for wets.

However, with the threat of rain intensifying throughout the final laps, Luiz Razia crossed the line to win Arden’s first GP2 race since Charles Pic at Barcelona in 2010. Valsecchi finished 2nd whilst setting the fastest lap of the race, with Chilton coming home 3rd. With the top 8 reversed to form the grid for tomorrow’s race in traditional GP2 fashion, rookie James Calado will be on pole.

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1. Luiz Razia Arden International 30 laps - 56:00.250
2. Davide Valsecchi DAMS +7.817
3. Max Chilton Carlin +27.366
4. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering +28.291
5. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni +32.217
6. Felipe Nasr DAMS +33.378
7. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP +33.679
8. James Calado Lotus GP +36.449
9. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing +41.519
10. Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus +43.240
11. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering +43.720
12. Rio Haryanto Carlin +53.303
13. Marcus Ericsson iSport International +1:01.683
14. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team +1:02.683
15. Julian Leal Trident Racing +1:09.180
16. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology +1:10.399
17. Jolyon Palmer iSport International +1:12.861
18. Stephane Richelmi Trident Racing +1:15.206
19. Tom Dillmann Rapax +1:27.810
20. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni +1:29.125
21. Simon Trummer Arden International +1:29.672
22. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax +1:48.025
23. Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Mazarus +1 lap
24. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing DNF
25. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team DNF
26. Jon Lancaster Ocean Racing Technology DNF


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